For when you want to be kidnapped from the next three hours of your life
The Devil in the Flesh is one of the most potent, provocative, romantic reading experiences you could ever give yourself. It's a slim, largely autobiographical novel about a love affair between a 16-year-old boy (unnamed) and an 18-year-old married woman, Martha, who fall deeply in love and have an intense sexual affair while her husband is away at war. This is not YA: The narrator is not childish, and although he loves with intensity, he brings fascinating detachment to his scrutiny of his feelings. "It was only now when I was certain that I no longer loved her that I began to love her," he writes. The author, Raymond Radiguet, was only in his teens when he wrote this book; he died at 20 of typhoid. But this novel gives him eternal life in the pantheon of great writers, and will immerse you in his sensual, nuanced mindset.

Wordbirds Liesl Shillinger is the author of Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21stCentury. Find her at